Today, I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of His Royal Highness
The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His decades of extraordinary public
service will be sorely missed by our country. His steadfast support to the
Queen and the Royal Family over seven decades has been an inspiration and
symbol of stability for many.
My condolences go to The Queen and the Royal Family and I hope over the
coming days that we come together as a nation to mourn and to remember his
Outdoor hospitality and retail to reopen
From Monday 12 April, we will see pubs and restaurants re-open to outdoor
hospitality and non-essential retail will join them in opening their doors
once more. This is a positive step forward and one which has been made
possible by us all playing our part in what must be the last national
While Covid rates are significantly decreasing, it is still active and
present in all of our communities. That is why we must keep following the
guidelines being issued that include maintaining the 2m social distancing
rule, wearing a face mask where appropriate and getting tested regularly.
This is how we continue to keep each other safe.
A list of all locations in Birmingham where free lateral flow tests are
available can be found in the link below.
LIST OF WHERE LATERAL FLOW TESTS ARE AVAILABLE
Speeding in Quinton
Over the last few weeks several constituents have written to me to tell me
about the increasingly dangerous problem with speeding in Quinton and parts
of Bartley Green. I understand what a worry this is and how it can really
impact residents. That’s why I have put together a survey that has been
designed to identify the worst-affected areas and ask residents about their
experiences. The findings will be used to lobby the council and the local
police for more help in tackling this issue.
I am keen to take decisive action, but to do so I need to build a clear
evidence base to back up the individual cases I have been dealing with. If
you are aware of the issue and would like to join me in tackling this
issue, you can complete the survey using the link below.
COMPLETE THE SURVEY
Planning application successfully blocked in Harborne
In the last month I’ve had numerous residents who have written to me
about the issues with mobile phone and internet connectivity in and around
Court Oak Road in Harborne after new equipment was installed on the grass
A new planning application was submitted for installation of further
telecommunications equipment including a mast to be erected. After speaking
with residents, I lodged an objection to the council asking that they first
find and eliminate the source of existing network issues.
I am pleased to say that I received confirmation that permission for the
new equipment has not been granted. While there could be an appeal, this is
a positive step in ensuring that our communities have stable and consistent
access to basic internet and telephone services.
Government double up on cuts to overseas aid
This week the Government published the overseas aid budget for 2019/2020.
It showed us that as our economy shrunk, so did the aid budget by £712
million. This is exactly why the Government committed to in their manifesto
to pledging 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI). So that if the country was
faced with a difficult time like the pandemic which affected our economy,
the overseas aid budget would change to reflect it.
While £712 million is a huge figure that will have a devastating impact on
lifesaving support for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people, what
is more objectionable and callous from the Government is that they have
chosen to reduce the budget even further for 2020/2021 to 0.5%. This in
effect is a double cut that will cost so many lives around the world and
even have an impact at home via the cuts to the international research and
development funding. These last-minute plans will mean that many university
projects, including those at the University of Birmingham, will have their
funding taken away mid-way through programmes of work. That work includes
tackling pandemics, improving health systems and tackling the climate
crisis. All things the world is in vital need of as we try to recover from
I wrote to the Secretaries of State, Dominic Raab MP and Kwasi Kwarteng MP,
to ask them to rethink this approach which seemingly lacks any strategic
basis and will damage our international reputation.